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Legacy Heroes Can Stop The MCU Going Stale After Avengers 4

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The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe could still lie with the original six Avengers, but with new, legacy characters taking up their mantles to keep it fresh. Over the last 10 years, the MCU has thrived in almost every way. Much of the success has come on the backs of the six characters who helped truly launch what the universe has become today.

In 2012, The Avengers changed the landscape of not just the superhero movie genre but all of Hollywood as well. Marvel Studios proved that an interconnected universe spanning several different franchises could work - and that there's massive box office potential if done correctly. The Avengers was led by the MCU's three leading superheroes - Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) - while also seeing the return of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), not to mention the introduction of a new Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo. The movie became a phenomenon and grossed $1.5 billion as a result, and it gave Marvel Studios confidence to continue.

Related: Avengers 4 Set Photos Hint at Tony Changing Loki Timeline

As the MCU has grown, its introduced a number of new characters who have gone on to lead successful franchises of their own. Characters like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther succeeded on their own, while the Guardians of the Galaxy made the jump from obscure comic book property to a household names. Through it all, Marvel has still relied heavily on the original six Avengers. They were the foundation of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the separation was paramount to setting up the dire circumstances of Avengers: Infinity War. They'll finally be back together in Avengers 4 and likely for the last time. However, Marvel already appears to be preparing for a future without the same actors and characters - and it appears to be in making many (if not all) legacy heroes.

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Avengers 4 Will Likely Say Goodbye to OG Avengers

It may be difficult for many to admit, but Avengers 4 appears to be the last time (for now) that many of the original Avengers will be making appearances in the MCU. Whether they die heroically in an attempt to save those they lost or simply retire from the MCU after one final victory is up for debate and speculation, but their limited future doesn't appear to be. The biggest indicator of this change coming was with Chris Evans' wrap tweet for Avengers 4. He noted how grateful he was to have played Captain America for the last eight years and many took this as a sign that he is indeed hanging up the shield in some fashion. Evans' has tried to say that his tweet doesn't spoil anything about Avengers 4's ending, but the writing has been on the wall for some time.

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Related: Avengers 4: All The Rumors, Leaks & Spoilers

If Evans is leaving (and, as a result, Captain America - or at least the Steve Rogers version), then some of the other original members may not be far behind. Robert Downey Jr. is known to receive massive paydays to appear, and while the box office receipts may prove it is worth every penny to keep him around, the MCU is in as great a place as ever to let the old guard leave and a new one to rise. And while Hemsworth has an interest in continuing on, there's no guarantee that he will stick around after Avengers 4 either. The same goes for Renner and Ruffalo, neither of whom have received solo movies up to this point. The only one person fans know they'll see again is Johansson in her solo Black Widow movie. However, this film could be a prequel and in no way guarantees she will survive Avengers 4, let alone continue to appear through MCU Phase 4 and beyond.

If Avengers 4 does begin to usher out the original Avengers, there will be a major hole atop the MCU. Theoretically, the likes of Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Spider-Man will only become more vital to the future. Other characters such as the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, and Wasp could also receive a bump in importance. There's even the eventual introduction of the X-Men and Fantastic Four that can help fill the void of the original Avengers leaving. But, it also looks like new versions of the original Avengers could come, and thus introduce legacy versions of these characters. After all, Marvel Studios has made almost all of the original Avengers household names, so why get rid of these valuable IPs when they can instead be explored in a new direction?

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Legacy Heroes Appear to Be The Next Step

The evidence for such a move comes with a few recent stories in the MCU circle. This possible movement was recently tipped off by Crossbones actor Frank Grillo. He said that with Evans stepping away from the Captain America mantle that an African American or female could next hold the shield. This has only added to evidence pointing to Anthony Mackie's Falcon being next in line to be Captain America. This belief is a bit loose and dependent on Grillo's statement being true, but it makes a lot of sense, especially with news that Falcon and Winter Soldier will star in a miniseries for Disney's streaming service, Disney Play.

Now there are rumors Captain America won't be the only one who becomes a legacy character. A new rumor teases Hawkeye could receive a solo project of some sorts and that he'd be training an apprentice. The unidentified apprentice is believed to be Kate Bishop, who takes over the mantle of Hawkeye in the comics. If this is true, then both Hawkeye and Captain America could become legacy characters in the MCU. But, if Marvel Studios is going to evolve these two characters into legacy characters, then they may be planning to do the same for the other four original Avengers.

Page 2 of 2: Comic History & Impact on MCU Future

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Key Release Dates
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Untitled Avengers Movie (2019) release date: May 03, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
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